Top ranked BE girls' basketball team enters new season with retooled team
The Bishop England girls’ varsity basketball team began the 2016-17 basketball season as the No. 1 team in the state in Class AAA, according to the South Carolina Basketball Coaches Association’s preseason poll.
But Coach Paul Runey and his squad know that talent, coaching, effort and a little luck determine which team emerges as the state champion, not a court of public opinion.
“It’s preseason, it’s a poll,” Runey said. “It’s based on us being a three-time state champion. It’s sort of a salute to the past.”
The Bishops are No. 1 in Class AAA. The Bishop boys also are listed among the best in the state, checking in at No. 6.
The Bishop England girls’ success has been off the charts in recent years. The Bishops topped Keenan 53-37 in last year’s Class AA state championship to become only the third Class AA team in South Carolina High School League history to win three straight state titles, and only the second team to win four titles in five years. The victory at the season finale gave the Bishops a record of 127 wins vs. 11 losses in the last three seasons.
But that was then and this is now as the Bishops compete at the Class AAA level, with a retooled team.
“We lost some key players,” Runey said. “We lost five of our top six players from last year. It’s going to be a different team than we were used to the last three or four years.”
Bishop England guard, Rhetta Moore, who was named one of the top five senior girls in Class AAA, according to the state coaches association, is the key returner.
She shot 44 percent from the field and averaged 13.3 points per game to earn all-state honors. She averaged 3.0 steals per game and 2.3 assists per contest. Look for her assists to increase as she will be the primary ball-handler/distributor in the offense.
“I think she will do well,” Runey said of Moore’s transition to point guard. “She has a knack for taking control.”
The Bishops were 1-1 in the regular season, heading into this week’s action. The Bishops dropped a 63-50 decision to Northwood Academy in the first round of the Riptide tourney and then topped Pinewood Prep.
Joining Moore in the starting lineup are Allie Tucker, Josie Dennis, Anna Grace Miller, and Christine Egede.
The team played in numerous lopsided games last year, so the team has experience.
The Bishop boys team is led by Brendan McHale, an all-state selection last year after leading the Bishops to their first playoff win in seven years as the Bishop posted a 15-11 record.
He averaged 18 points and three steals per game as a junior. He scored a game-high 20 points against No. 3 Silver Bluff in the opening round of the playoffs and followed that up with 28 points in the second round of the playoffs – a loss at Dillon.
The Bishop boys are 2-1 heading into this week’s action. They own victories over Stall and Academic Magnet and suffered a loss to Porter-Gaud.